- What is Irish citizenship by naturalisation?
- What are the Irish residency requirements?
- What counts towards reckonable residence?
- What are the required documents?
- Citizenship based on marriage/civil partnership
- Irish citizenship for dependant young adults
- Irish citizenship by birth or descent
- Application process
- Application fee
- Application processing time
- What is the Irish citizenship ceremony?
- Foreign Births Register registration
- Frequently asked questions
How to apply for Irish citizenship
Irish citizenship is the final step of the immigration journey for foreign nationals in Ireland. As an Irish citizen, you can enjoy full State freedoms without restrictions, and you will also be eligible to apply for an Irish passport.
Citizenship by naturalisation is the route that the majority of foreign nationals will take towards Irish citizenship. A number of requirements need to be fulfilled in order for an individual to be considered.
The most fundamental requirement is that the applicant has spent at least five years living lawfully in Ireland (known as reckonable residence), though under certain circumstances, just three years of reckonable residence can lead to citizenship by naturalisation.
Other routes towards Irish nationality and citizenship include citizenship by birth and descent. These routes are for those with Irish ancestry, including those with an Irish grandparent.
What is Irish Citizenship by naturalisation?
If you are a foreign national with no familial ties to Ireland, you can become an Irish citizen through the process of naturalisation. To be eligible for citizenship by naturalisation you must be able to fulfil a number of requirements.
Who is eligible for Irish citizenship by naturalisation?
There are a few fundamental conditions which any applicant must meet in order to be considered for Irish nationality and citizenship:
- Must have lived in Ireland legally for a certain length of time
- You need to be at least 18-years-old to apply for citizenship. However, if you are married, you can apply for citizenship if you are under 18
- You must be able to demonstrate good character
- You will need to make a declaration of loyalty to Ireland and declare your commitment to respect and observe the rule of law in the State and its democratic values in the official citizenship ceremony
What are the good character requirements?
In order to be eligible for Irish nationality and citizenship, the Department of Justice & Equality need to be satisfied that you are of good character.
Any criminal record will be taken into account, as will any ongoing criminal proceedings. You must disclose details of any proceedings in your application form.
If you have breached any conditions of the stamp/visa/permit you have been living under, it is highly unlikely that your Irish citizenship application will be accepted.
Likewise, if you have been living in Ireland illegally, your citizenship application will be automatically rejected.
What are the residency requirements?
You need to have lawfully lived in Ireland for a certain period of time to be considered for citizenship. Typically, this is 5 years, and the 5-year rule is known as reckonable residence.
If you are a non-EEA national, some periods of residence might not count towards the time requirements. For instance, if you have spent time in Ireland under a Short Stay ‘C’ Tourist Visa, this will not class as reckonable residence.
For EEA and Swiss nationals, any time which they have spent in Ireland will class as reckonable residence.
Generally speaking, the fundamental requirements below must be fulfilled in order to be considered for Irish nationality and citizenship, and they apply to both EEA/Swiss and non-EEA/non-Swiss nationals.
- You must have been legally resident in Ireland for five of the previous nine years
- You must have legally lived in Ireland for one year of continuous residence immediately before the date of your application (included in the five years)
In November of 2019, new rulings were introduced which allow you to leave Ireland in the year previous to your citizenship application date without it breaking your continuous residency period, provided you spend no more than six weeks outside of Ireland.
Are there any exceptions to the time requirement rules?
There are a couple of exceptions to the time requirements towards citizenship. Refugees can apply for citizenship once they have lived in Ireland under reckonable residence for three years.
Also, those who have been living in Ireland as the spouse/civil partner of an Irish citizen can apply for citizenship after three years of reckonable residence (as long as they are able to fulfil other requirements).
What counts towards reckonable residence?
You can reach the required timeframe via a number of different residency routes.
If you have been living in Ireland under a type of long visa with official permission to remain, such as for employment purposes, or as the spouse/civil partner of an Irish resident, this will count towards Irish citizenship time requirements.
The following stamps all count as reckonable residence:
- Stamp 1
- Stamp 1G
- Stamp 3
- Stamp 4
- Stamp 5
You can prove the length of your residency in Ireland by showing your immigration permission stamps or, alternatively, by showing documents from the Department of Justice & Equality which indicate the permissions you have been granted with.
It is important that you keep your immigration registration current and up-to-date with no gaps. Your application could be rejected and classed as ineligible if there any gaps in your immigration status whilst living in Ireland.
Also, if you have spent long periods of time abroad during your time in Ireland, you will need to provide information which explains the absences.
Which application form do I need to complete?
This depends on the route which the applicant is taking towards Irish nationality and citizenship. There are four different application forms:
- Application Form 8 for standard adult application (including young adults)
- Application Form 9 for an application completed by a naturalised Irish parent on behalf of a minor
- Application Form 10 for an application completed on behalf of a minor of Irish descent
- Application Form 11 for an application on behalf of a minor born in the State from 1st January 2005 who is not entitled to Irish citizenship by birth
Under Irish immigration law, a minor is anyone under 18 who is not married at the time of their application. A minor’s application must be completed by their parent, legal guardian or a person acting on the child’s behalf.
What are the required documents?
The specific documents which need to be included in the application depend on the particular circumstances of the applicant and the route through which they are applying for citizenship by naturalisation.
Application Form 8 is the standard application form for adult Irish citizenship applications.
For the standard Application Form 8, the documents you need to include are as follows:
- Your original valid in-date passport
- A copy of the biometric page of your valid passport
- All passports which have been held from the date of your arrival into Ireland, including biometric pages and all pages containing immigration and permission stamps
- Two recent colour passport-sized photographs with the date and your signature on the back of each
- A certified copy of your birth certificate
- A certified copy of your current in-date Irish Residence Permit/Gardia National Immigration Bureau Card
- A copy of permission to remain letters issued by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service
- Copy of completed online residency checker
- Copies of bank statements for all of your bank accounts for at least three of the previous six months
- A letter from your current employer showing the date you started employment
- Copies of three payslips from within the last six months, and a copy of your P60 or a tax statement from the Revenue Commissioners for each year of residence
- A certified copy of your marriage/civil partnership certificate (if applicable)
Applicants who are from a country in the EU/EEA/Switzerland can legally live and work in Ireland without the need to apply for visas or immigration stamps.
Consequently, applicants in these circumstances need to provide proof of residency documents to verify they have lived in Ireland for the required time period. They will also need to send three different proof of residence documents for each year they have lived in Ireland which show their name and address.
Any documents which are not in English must be translated by an accredited translator. Both the original document and the translated document need to be included in the application.
The Immigration Advice Service can provide expert guidance on the exact documents which you will need to include in your Irish nationality and citizenship application. Call us now on (+353) 061 518 025 to find out more.
Irish citizenship through marriage or civil partnership
One of the quickest routes to citizenship by naturalisation is through marriage/civil partnership to an Irish citizen. Those applying for citizenship through this route can apply after just three years of lawful living in Ireland, rather than the usual five.
Specifically, you must have been lawfully living in Ireland for at least three of the previous five years, which includes 1 year of continuous residence in the year directly before the date of your application.
You will need to complete Application Form 8 to apply through this route. As well as the documents listed above, you will need to include a certified copy of your marriage/civil partnership certificate in your application.
The following conditions must be met in order to be eligible for Irish nationality and citizenship based on marriage/civil partnership to an Irish citizen:
- Aged 18 or over at the time of applying for citizenship
- Have been married to, or in a civil partnership, with an Irish citizen for at least 3 years
- Have been living together for at least three years in an ongoing marriage/civil partnership
Also, the applicant needs to provide three different proof of residence documents showing their name and address for each year they have lived in Ireland.
Citizenship application for a non-EU/EEA/Swiss dependant young adult
The definition of a dependent young adult is:
- Aged 18-23 when they apply
- Entered Ireland legally as part of a family unit
- Currently attending secondary school in the country, or went directly from secondary school into third level education
- Not financially independent and continuously dependant on your parents
Those who are applying for citizenship as a dependant young adult will need to complete Application Form 8. They will need to include certain documents from the list above in their application, as well as a letter from their school or college showing the date of their registration and attendance.
Citizenship for refugees
If you have been declared as a refugee, you will be eligible for Irish nationality and citizenship once you have lived for at least three years of reckonable residence in Ireland. It is crucial to keep your immigration registration up-to-date during your residency.
As part of the naturalisation process for citizenship as a refugee, you will need to include three different proof of residence documents for each year of the reckonable residence.
Citizenship by birth or descent
One of the most common routes to citizenship is through birth or descent. Depending on your particular circumstances, you could be eligible for citizenship even if you were not born in Ireland.
Am I an Irish citizen if I was born in Ireland?
It is important to note that you are not automatically eligible for Irish citizenship if you were born in Ireland.
Under the following circumstances, you will be an Irish citizen/able to apply for citizenship by birth:
- Born on the island of Ireland before 1st January 2005
- Born in Ireland after 1st January 2005 and at least one parent was an Irish citizen at the time of your birth
- Born on the island of Ireland on or after 1st January 2005 and at least one parent is British or is entitled to live in Northern Ireland or Ireland without restrictions
- A child born in Ireland on or after 1st January 2005 to a parent who was granted refugee status
If a child was born in Ireland after 1st January 2005 to foreign national parents, they are not automatically entitled to Irish citizenship.
In this situation, at least one of the parents of the child needs to prove that they had/have lived for 3 of the previous 4 years on the island of Ireland as reckonable residence immediately prior to the birth. If this can be proved, the child will be eligible for citizenship.
Can I become an Irish citizen by descent?
You could be eligible for citizenship even if you were not born in Ireland and don’t live in Ireland. This route is known as citizenship by descent.
If either of your parents was born in Ireland and was an Irish citizen at the time of your birth, you may be entitled to apply for citizenship.
If you were born outside of Ireland and one of your parents was an Irish citizen at the time of your birth (and was born outside of Ireland) you may be eligible for citizenship.
If this parent was deceased at the time of your birth but would have been an Irish citizen if they were alive at that time, you are still eligible for Ireland citizenship.
Citizenship through descent from Irish grandparent
You may be eligible for Irish nationality if one of your grandparents was born in Ireland, regardless of where your parents were born.
You will not be able to claim Irish citizenship any further back in your ancestry than your grandparents. Also, you won’t be able to claim citizenship through relations other than your parents and grandparents.
Citizenship through adoption
If someone was adopted by an Irish citizen or a couple where one of the guardians was an Irish citizen, they will automatically be an Irish citizen.
If an Irish citizen living in Ireland adopts a child from outside of the State, immigration conditions apply. The child must receive immigration clearance from the Department of Justice & Equality, and the adoptive parents must also have a declaration made in their favour by the Adoption Authority of Ireland.
The first step in the citizenship process is to establish your route towards citizenship. From this point, you will need to check whether you can meet the most fundamental requirements of your chosen route.
The application process is as follows:
- Fill in the relevant application form
- Gather required documentation together. Do note that the required documents will depend on the citizenship route through which you are applying and your particular circumstances
- Send your application together with your bundle of documents to the relevant application office
- If your citizenship by naturalisation application is accepted, you will need to attend a citizenship ceremony. Also, those applying for citizenship through descent of a grandparent, or through one of their parents being an Irish citizen at the time of their birth, will need to register the birth with the Foreign Births Register
The current fee for a citizenship application is €175. You will not be refunded for any of the fee, even if your application is rejected.
If your application is accepted, you will need to pay for your official Certificate of Naturalisation. The fees for this certificate are as follows:
- Adults: €950
- Minor: €200
- Widow, Widower or Surviving Civil Partner of Irish citizen: €200
- Recognised refugee or stateless person: €0
Only bank draft payments will be accepted for both the citizenship application and the Certificate of Naturalisation. Both payments must be drawn on an Irish bank and made payable to Secretary General, Department of Justice & Equality.
How long does it take to get Irish citizenship?
For standard citizenship applications, you can expect a decision within six months of the date the application is received.
However, it is important to keep in mind that each application is unique and, depending on the complexity of the case, the processing time could be longer.
Immigration officials will check that you have completed the correct application form, paid the application fee, completed the statutory declarations and submitted all required documentation.
If any documents are missing in your application, you will usually be given 28 days to provide them. If you cannot provide any required documents, your application will almost certainly be rejected.
If it is deemed necessary, other government departments and external agencies could be contacted.
Your application will be sent to the Minister of Justice & Equality for consideration after it has been processed. They will have the final decision on whether to accept your Irish citizenship application or not.
Even if you have provided all the documentation, there is no guarantee that your application will be accepted.
What can I do if my application is rejected?
If your application was refused, you will be notified of the reasons for the rejection. Unfortunately, there is no appeal process and, as mentioned above, you will not receive any refund.
You can apply for citizenship by naturalisation again at any time you wish.
What is the Irish Citizenship ceremony?
If your citizenship application is accepted, you will be invited to a citizenship ceremony. This is the final step towards full naturalisation and Irish citizenship. At the ceremony, you will make a formal declaration of fidelity and loyalty to the Republic of Ireland.
Citizenship ceremonies are held periodically throughout the year. You will receive an invitation to your ceremony at least 4 weeks before the ceremony is due to take place. You can take one guest with you to the ceremony.
On your approval letter, you will be informed of the final documentation you need to provide to complete your application, which is typically your Irish Residence Permit or GNIB card.
Once you arrive at the ceremony, you will need to report to the registration desk. You must ensure that you bring some official identification, such as your passport or driver’s licence to present to reception.
You will be given a pack at the registration desk, which will include your Certificate of Naturalisation. This certificate is a very important document, and it is imperative that you keep it safe.
The ceremony is presided over by a judge, and a government minister will usually be present too. Typically, a citizenship ceremony lasts for around a couple of hours.
The main part of the ceremony is your official declaration of fidelity and loyalty to Ireland, through speaking the following words:
“I (name) having applied to the Minister for Justice and Equality for a certificate of naturalisation, hereby solemnly declare my fidelity to the Irish nation and my loyalty to the State.
I undertake to faithfully observe the laws of the State and to respect its democratic values.”
How do I register a birth on the Foreign Births Register?
If you would like to apply for citizenship through descent, you might need to register your birth in the Foreign Births Register.
In the following situations, you will need to register your birth with the Foreign Births Register in order to become an Irish citizen:
- One of your grandparents was born in Ireland
- One of your parents was an Irish citizen at the time of your birth
You can apply to register a birth on the Foreign Births Register both for yourself and a dependent child.
Some of the documents you will need to include when you apply for registration on the Foreign Births Register include:
- Original birth certificate which shows your parent’s details
- Certified photocopy of identification such as passport or driving licence
- Two proofs of address
- Original civil birth certificate of person you are basing application on
- Certified photocopy of current identification, such as passport or driving licence, of person you are basing the application on
- Original marriage certificate or change of name document (if applicable)
Here is the full application process for registering on the Foreign Births Register:
- Gather the required documents
- Complete the online form
- Pay the fee, which is currently €278 for adults and €158 for children
- Sign your application form in front of a witness who is a member a profession listed on dfa.ie
To find out more about how to register a birth on the Foreign Births Register, including the full documents which you need to provide, please contact us on (+353) 061 518 025.
How can I get a document certified?
A certified document is one which has been signed and dated by a recognised person or organisation, indicating a true copy or translation of an original document. A certified document proves to Irish immigration officials that your documents are genuine.
Once the person or organisation has given their consent to certifying your documents, you will need to ask them to:
- Sign and date the document
- Clearly print their name under the signature
- Add their occupation, address and telephone number
- Write ‘Certified to be true copy/translation of the original seen by me’ on the document
A solicitor, a member of the Notary Public or a Commissioner for Oath are some of the individuals who would be classed as suitable individuals to certify documents.
If your documents need to be translated, the translation company/translator needs to be professionally qualified and established, with strong relationships with official organisations.
Can my Irish citizenship be revoked?
Yes, it is possible for citizenship to be revoked in certain circumstances. Your Irish nationality or citizenship could be revoked if:
- The Certificate of Naturalisation was granted where fraud was present, whether intentionally or not. This includes any concealment of material facts or circumstances
- Someone has failed in their duty of fidelity to the nation and loyalty to the State
- The person who was given citizenship has been ordinarily resident outside of Ireland for a continuous period of seven years, and has not made official declarations of their intention to retain citizenship. This does not apply to those working in public services
- The Irish citizen is also a citizen of a country which is at war with Ireland
- The person has voluntarily acquired another citizenship by means other than marriage
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Irish citizenship can be granted both by naturalisation, and through birth or descent.
The most fundamental requirement for citizenship by naturalisation is to have lived in Ireland for a certain period of reckonable residence. Typically, this is five years.
The general requirements include:
- Must be at least 18 years old
- Must have legally lived in Ireland for a certain period of time
- Must be able to demonstrate good character
- Will need to make a declaration of loyalty to Ireland and declare your commitment to abide by the laws of the State
For full guidance on the requirements which you will need to fulfil particular to your circumstances, please call us on (+353) 061 518 025 for more information.
Yes, dual citizenship is possible if you don’t want to revoke your original nationality and want to keep your Ireland citizenship. Irish law states that you do not need to give up another citizenship to apply to become an Irish citizen by naturalisation or to claim Irish citizenship by birth or descent.
Yes, once you have received Irish citizenship you will be free to apply for an Irish passport and enjoy the full benefits of being an Irish citizen.
Here at the Immigration Advice Service, we can assist you with the entire passport application, making the process as smooth as possible. Call us now on (+353) 061 518 025 for more information.
If you live outside of Ireland, you will need to complete Form 5 on an annual basis. This form indicates that you officially wish to retain your Irish citizenship.
Those who applied for Irish citizenship by naturalisation and reside outside of Ireland will need to complete this form.
The processing time for the Irish foreign births register is currently between 12 and 18 months for completed applications. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the processing time for the foreign births register has been delayed. Existing applications will be processed according to the date they were submitted.
The Department of Foreign Affairs foreign births register page has more information about waiting times.